Return Of The King

It was that time of the year when Jewish people from all over the country side began to make their way towards the great city of Jerusalem. They were coming to purify themselves in preparation for the Passover Festival.

As the crowds grew each day, many people went to the temple courts in the hopes of seeing Jesus. The rumors and stories about him and what he had done were flying thick and fast. They asked one another, “What do you think? Will he dare to turn up this year?”

They said this because the chief priests had put out the word, that if anyone knew where Jesus was, they should notify them immediately. They wanted Jesus arrested. They wanted him dead.

Bethany

Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived in the small village of Bethany. This was the home town of his good friend Lazarus and his family. Lazarus was the one who Jesus had raised from the dead. Many Jews from Jerusalem and the surrounding area heard that Jesus was at Bethany, so they made their way to the small village to see him. People also wanted to see Lazarus with their own eyes, and in fact, many Jews who had seen him had believed in Jesus. It was for this reason that the chief priests wanted Lazarus dead also.

That evening, Jesus was the guest of honor at a dinner party at the house of a man named Simon. Lazarus, Mary and Martha were there also, and at some point during the evening, Mary brought an expensive jar of perfumed oil and anointed Jesus’ feet with it.

The next day, 5 days before the Passover, Jesus set out with some of his disciples toward Jerusalem. He instructed two of them to go on ahead into the next village. He instructed them, “As you enter it, you will find a young donkey tied up there, one that no one has ever sat on. Untie it and bring it to me. If anyone asks you, ‘What are you doing?’ say to them, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

So the two disciples did as Jesus said, and they brought the young donkey to him. After placing their robes on the donkey, they helped Jesus get on, so that he could ride it as they walked along side.

By this time, a very large crowd had gathered to see Jesus. Many had been there when Lazarus came out of his tomb and they began to praise God for what they had witnessed. With a loud shout they chanted things like:

Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!
Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord – the King of Israel!

As they sang and called out, many placed their robes on the road in front of Jesus. They also waved palm branches. The noise grew in intensity as the voices of hundreds of people filled the air… a line of people stretching from the top of the Mount of Olives all the way down to the city gate.

The large gathering of people caused the Pharisees to say to each other, “Look how the whole world has gone after him!”. Some of the Pharisees in the crowd told Jesus to rebuke his followers for saying such things, blasphemous things, but Jesus replied to them, “Even if they did keep silent, I tell you, the stones would cry out in their place.”

Jerusalem

And then suddenly, he sees it. The great city of Jerusalem spread out before him, the city that represented the nation. As he looked over it, he began to weep.

Don’t miss the importance of this moment. Jesus is riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, as a king bringing peace to his people. He is coming down from the Mount of Olives, itself a symbol of peace, when he says, with tears in his eyes, “If you only knew on this day what would bring you peace, but now it is hidden from your eyes.”

How it must of broken his heart to know that in just a few short days, the very people he was weeping over would be the same ones who would have him put to death. These same people who were cheering his triumphal entry would soon be calling out “Crucify him!”

And so the King of Kings entered into the Holy city riding on a donkey. As he moved through the streets, making his way to the temple complex, many more people came to see him. The blind and the lame came, and he healed them. Children came to him and sang praises, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” This made the chief priests even more angry and even more determined to have this Jesus of Nazareth put to death.

By now it was late in the day, so Jesus and his disciples returned to the village of Bethany for the night.


Take a moment to reflect on the story you have just read.
(sometimes it is helpful to read it again, slowly)

*Was there something in this story that you discovered—or thought about—for the first time?
*As you think about the story, what questions do you have? What do you wonder about?
*How might this story change your perspective / beliefs / behaviors?

I would love to hear what you are discovering as you think through these questions.
Comments are moderated to ensure they are relevant to the story and questions above.

If you would like to dig a little deeper into this story, you will find some further thoughts and questions here.


Easter Story
Return Of The King | Last Supper | Garden | Accusations | Denial | Sentenced | Crucifixion | Burial | Empty Tomb | Appearance

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